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on 10 August 2016
As an occasional reader, who was dipping in and out of the book whenever I had time, I found the characters strong and believable enough to stay with me between sessions and the writing clear and consistent enough to keep me engaged. Very good portrayal of dysfunctional characters and complex emotions that created an undercurrent of tension without ever becoming melodramatic. I'd recommend it to others looking for a gripping, interesting and thought provoking read.
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on 12 April 2013
I bought this book for my mum to read as I saw it on Richard and Judy's list. She loved it and couldn't put it down - she got through it in record speed as a result! I then read it after her and could understand what she liked about it, but I wouldn't describe it as a great read, but definitely good enough to leave me feeling like I hadn't wasted my time. I liked the way the chapters alternated between the past and the present, but found myslef geting confused by the two male characters - the accused buy, Sebastien, and the lawyer as a young boy, because to me they were far too similar. But I liked it all the same. I really liked the character of Minnie, the foster/adoptive mother, and I did really like the chapters that focused on the past of Daniel's upbringing. I realised when I was still quite far from the end, that there could only be one possible outcome because there weren't enough pages to offer the alternative. In that way it was predictable, because an alternative outcome was never really touched upon, so I didn't find myself guessing. My boyfriend calls this type of book 'brain candy', because it's not a thought-provoking book and once it's finished you don't really think about it again. Regardless, a good read especially if you're on holiday.
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on 11 September 2015
So who is the guilty one? I was desperate to find out who did what but also dreading the end of this book. I read a lot of books and often too fast so although I enjoy the book at the time, I have often forgotten it as soon as I start another. However this book will stay with me for some time. I felt great empathy at different levels for all the main characters and although jumping back and forth from the present to Daniel's childhood could have been annoying, I didn't find it so in this story. I thought Minnie was a fascinating character, flawed but vulnerable, generous, patient and needy. I found Daniel sad and felt sorry at how his life had progressed. Sebastian was intriguing, clever and unpredictable. Would highly recommend this book if you like a good story and are interested in people's characters and like to explore why they do what they do.
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on 2 April 2013
The Guilty One. Page 82 'his satchel fell to the ground', before hero was set upon and beaten by school thugs. And 'His knife wss in the bag but there was no time to get it'. He waited until the thugs moved off but 'got to his feet' when a man asked him if he was ok. The hero then 'turned and ran'. No sign that he picked up his satchel. Yet on p 86 'His satchel was on his shoulders'. Then p 88 his satchel 'must have fallen off somewhere in the wardrobe or on the stairs', when he reaches 'home'. A pretty good read; but these proof reading/editing errors are really irritating.
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on 17 May 2013
This was a very thought provoking book. The comparisons in it were very clever. One came away not knowing who the guilty one actually was - was it Daniel or Minnie or indeed young Seb . All were guilty of something. I loved the descriptions of the main characters. They were very imagineable. One couldn't help vut compare it to the court case involving the death of poor young Jamie Bulgar. It was an interesting read. I too initially was convinced that Seb was innocent. He certainly was a clever young lad in being able to convince so many people. It does make you wonder how many other people have got away with murder!
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on 19 March 2013
This is the best book that I've read in a while and I've read lots of good books. It follows the story of a solicitor who is defending a boy who has been charged with murder. At the same time it follows the story of that same solicitor's childhood (drug addict mother and in and out of foster care) and how he got to where he is today. Sometimes when books show more than one story, it gets a bit complicated or I enjoy one story more than the other but I could hardly put this book down as I was fascinated by both stories. Highly recommend!
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on 29 November 2013
I have just finished The Guilty One - literally 5 minutes ago. I read a lot, but it has been a long time and a lot of pages since I have read so avidly. The story flows seamlessly and I found myself caring about the characters immediately. I found myself getting up early and going to bed late to enable more reading time. Although I was desperate find out the outcome of the story I now feel, as with all great reads, sorry it is over. Several highly unexpected twists along the way. Please buy this book - you won't be disappointed.
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on 25 February 2013
This is a gripping read with a good narrative drive and excellent characterisation. You can just see the chaotic small holding, which says so much about Minnie. The skill with which the minor characters are portrayed by sketching in the salient details is masterly and outstanding for a first novelist. The delineation of Sebastian's father and Jim Thornton is so telling, they can be imagined in their full repugnance in a few spare but effective details.

I lokk foerward eagerly to this author's next work.
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on 19 July 2013
I loved this book, gobbled it up in a couple of days, and was sorry when it was finished.

The author writes with a great natural style, and the switch between the timelines of Sebastian's and Daniel's stories was brilliantly handled.

I loved the characters, especially Minnie, and cried along with Daniel at the terrible loss of their trust. A real moral here, never put off saying sorry, one day it may be too late!

I do hope Lisa ballantyne is writing more books, she is a natural
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on 14 June 2018
I really liked this book because it is well written and has a really good story.
While there is no real surprise, the insight and realism with which the main character is described is well worth reading.
Further, the sub theme of the state of the English juvenile justice system is approached in an intelligent and critical manner which provides much food for thought.
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